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In November 2022, the Glazers announced that they were considering the sale of football club Manchester United. The family that owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers said it was exploring all strategic alternatives, including „a new investment in the club, a sale or other transaction involving the company.”
After six months of negotiations and bids, a resolution is still pending as there is no unified decision on what to do with the Glazers club, according to people familiar with the process. They are expected to review all their options when the EPL’s 2022-23 season ends at the end of May.
INEOS founder Jim Radcliffe and Qatari investor Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani are the only publicly known bidders.
The Glazers’ ownership of Manchester United began 20 years ago, when the late Malcolm Glazer bought a 2.9% stake in the club for around $5.6 million (£9 million). The billionaire launched a formal takeover bid two years later when his stake reached 57%, and he bought the club for $1.5 billion in 2005, acquiring a 98% stake. At the time of the takeover, the $787 million in debt he used was incorporated into the club’s books. By 2010 the club’s debt had reached $1 billion, and despite fan backlash, the family refinanced the debt through a bond issue of around £500 million.
Following the bond issue, the family opted for an IPO, and Manchester United debuted on the NYSE in 2012, raising $233 million. The IPO gave the Red Devils a market value of about $2.3 billion. At the time of the IPO, the family represented 67% of the voting power, holding Class B shares with 10 votes each, thus maintaining control of the club.
The 2012–13 season was the last time the Red Devils won the Premier League. Here’s what happened after that.
Manchester United sales timeline
May 2013: The club’s legendary manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has announced his retirement after 26 years at the helm. During his tenure, the club won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two UEFA Champions League titles. Ferguson is the most successful manager in British football history.
May 2014: Death of Malcolm Glazer. The family is selling 12 million shares at $17 for $200 million (£129 million). In December, Edward Glazer sold 3 million of his shares. Amid fan fury, the Glazers Don’t sell Manchester United for at least five years.
August 2017: Through holding company Red Football, the Glazers are selling 4.3 million shares at $17. They earn $73 million (£58 million) from sales.
March 2021: Avram Glazer, co-chairman, sells 5 million Class A shares worth about $100 million (~70 million).
October 2021: Avram’s brothers Kevin and Edward Glazer sold 9.5 million shares at $16.98 a share, raising a total of $161 million (£117 million).
November 2022: The family announced in a statement during the annual investors meeting that it was „initiating a process to explore strategic alternatives for Manchester United”.. $MANU Shares rose more than 8% in premarket trading and ended the day up more than 25% at $18.80. Earlier in the day, the stock surged 15% on news that Cristiano Ronaldo and the team had mutually agreed to part ways.
December 2022: The family is hiring Raine Group to oversee the sale process. Reign had facilitated the sale of Chelsea the previous March.
February 2023: Reign Group set deadline for first round bid, and Man United shares rise 10%. Since the Glazers announced the potential sale in November, $MANU stock has more than doubled in value. At this point, the club’s enterprise value, including net debt, is $5.2 billion.
Only Qatari investor Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and INEOS founder Jim Radcliffe have publicly announced their intention to bid for Manchester United, but several bids have been submitted.
Al Thani is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank and the son of the country’s former prime minister. Radcliffe is the UK’s richest man, worth $15.3 billion Forbes. They are both lifelong fans of the club.
March 2023: The club reported revenue of $206 million (£167 million) in its second quarter (representing the three months ending 31 December 2022), a 10% drop from the previous year, due to the club’s absence from the Champions League and a consequent decline in broadcast revenue. Net profit for the quarter was $7.7 million.
April 2023: In April, Raine receives a second round of bidding. Both Al Thani and Radcliffe are in the group, along with six other bidders, including Finnish businessman and former Nokia executive Thomas Ziliakas. As part of his initiative, Ziliakas says he is inviting Manchester United supporters from around the world to become co-owners.
Raine reportedly made the comments to these bidders ahead of the third round of the bidding process.
At the end of April, Raine accepts a third round of bids, and five parties submit, including Al Thani and Radcliffe. Ziliacus bids.
Rain’s team declined to comment for this article.
„Całkowity introwertyk. Nieprzejednany specjalista od sieci. Przyjazny fanatyk bekonu. Student ekstremalnych. Miłośnik piwa. Organizator.”